The shameful incident in Mangalore have evoked little reaction,almost none,in this mega city of more than 30 lakh people,a city going by various epithets like Manchester of the east,the industrial hub,the financial capital of the state. It is both surprising and not so surprising. Surprising,because,with its surfeit of affluence,and a very large number of educational institutions including a reputed university,people are assumed to be highly enlightened. At the same time,the society is recklessly engaged in minting fast buck and seldom cares for human values. While administrative decadence creates all kinds of evils,social decadence breeds apathy and dumbness. Moreover,one cannot expect much from a society which shirks its responsibility to raise voice against social evils like foeticide,dowry or drug-peddling. Once the nation did rise like the Himalayas against our colonial rulers but the achievement of Independence brought a collective smugness that all has been achieved.
The city has over a dozen girls colleges and a large number ladies clubs. What are they doing? Lady teachers,many of them underpaid,deliver excellent bookish lectures and believe their work is over. And the functions of these ladies clubs,as they appear in the press,are confined solely to garment shows,samosa-dahi-bhalla preparations and ramp walks. How many women activists does the city have to fight for their causes? At least,none to my knowledge. The local bar association must be having a womens wing but that is not visible. If women do not fight for themselves,who else will? Once I asked an elite lady what they were doing to curb the evil of foeticide and she didnt have anything to say.
The city also boasts of a large number of NGOs of nondescript profiles,and I happen to be a member of one. Some of them must have locked horns with our formidably adamant system but most of them arrange a lecture once in a couple of years to keep it alive in the medias glare. One reason for this is our appallingly inhuman system.
The situation of women in the city is as menacing as elsewhere in the country because,with our medieval social set-up,we treat a woman less like a human being. We have pretty good laws to help women,but these laws are not meant for implementation. A healthy social transformation,among other instruments and aids,needs at least two essential vehicles: a vigorous and continuous awareness campaign and a more effective legal action in tandem.
Our daughters,girls,and women have committed no crime to be subjected to the atrocities they suffer from the pre-natal foeticide to post-natal malnutrition,dowry and burning,rape and murder and the trudge into the old age. There is no honour in molesting or killing girls,not the least in the name of culture and religion. It is simply diabolical.
It is our duty to protect the women. The city must have at least one lady officer at each level of the police hierarchy. Each police station must have a lady officer and police officers. Womens cases should be handled only by a lady police officer. All educational institutions,offices and other establishments must have committees to safeguard and protect women and their interests. All people in general and women in particular should join together to fight the depravity witnessed in Nithari,Mangalore and other places of shame. Swami Vivekananda exhorted women themselves to acquire the spirit of valour and heroism to solve their problems. Let us for once contradict the Bard and say,Frailty,thy name is not woman.